tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC February 24, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
self-inflicted russian tv exka escapades. that does it for us. it's tuesday, february 24th and this is "now." >> this man is the person to whom we have entrusted the care of our veterans. >> robert mcdonald was hired on at the va to clean up that mess and it appears now that he has talked his way into a mess of his own. >> the secretary of veteran affairs -- >> is under fire and apologizing. >> it is an embarrassment for the new secretary. >> one of the absolute cardinal sins that anybody in the service can do. >> i made a misstatement. i apologize for that. >> i think he's the right person in the right place at the right time. i hope we can get past this. >> my whole purpose in this job is to try to connect with veterans.
that's what i was trying to do. >> just in the last hour the top u.s. official responsible for caring for our nation's veterans responded to the unfolding controversy over false claims he made about his military record. in a report that aired on cbs, robert mcdonald was seen on camera telling a homeless veteran that he was in the special forces. >> special forces. what years? i was in special forces. >> although mr. mcdonald is a veteran, he served with the 82nd airborne division and not in the special forces. mcdonald recounted his motivations behind the incident and he apologized. >> in an attempt to connect with that veteran, to make him feel comfortable, i incorrectly stated that i, too, had been in special forces. that was wrong, and i have no excuse.
my biggest motivation was to connect with the veteran. it was a misstatement. it was a mistake. >> the white house says it accepts mcdonald's explanation. when pressed about it earlier today, josh earnest reiterated the president's support for secretary mcdonald. >> he is somebody who understands firsthand the sacrifice that our men and women in uniform make on a regular basis. he also understands why what he said about his service is wrong. that's why it was appropriate for him to apologize, but there is no reason to think that the mistake that he made should interfere with his ability to continue to lead the fight for our veterans and to continue to implement the kinds of reforms at the va that are so critical to making sure our veterans are getting the benefits they desefb.desefb deserve. >> on "meet the press" earlier this month, he said 60 people had been fired for misconduct related to long wait times.
that number was actually fewer than 20. secretary mcdonald's tenure at the department of va began this summer after it was revealed that veterans faced mistreatment and extraordinarily long wait times at va facilities across the country. joining me now my my guests. gentlemen, thanks for joining me. congressman murphy let me go to you first. this is not a lie, he said before. this was an attempt to connect with a fellow veteran. what did you make of the apology? >> i thought he was spot on. listen alex where are we in american history where we can't have any person commit the public service make any type of mistake? he made a mistake. he owned up to it. he called the reporter. he did a press conference. he was connecting with this
homeless veteran. alex as you know, there are 49 9 49,000 veterans who are out on the streets. he was trying to connect with this person. was it right? no. he was wrong. but it wasn't like he was full of bluster or he put this on his official document. it was a misstatement, it was wrong, and he owned up to it. >> what did you think of the idea this was about connection with someone who has served in the armed forces? >> i absolutely understand his attempt to draw that straight line connection to this veteran. i see it day in and day out in conversations with other veterans. some people try to find some baseline, some commonality, to relate to the people with whom they are speaking.
it >> joe let me follow up on that. when it is revealed that that attempt at connection is a false one, does that in turn hurt -- does this hurt secretary mcdonald in your eyes, in the eyes of the folks that serve? >> i understand how it could possibly hurt him. what i am impressed by is his willingness to fall immediately on his sword, come out and approach the community in a sense of humility and acknowledge he has made a mistake and ask for forgiveness for his mistake. that speaks more of his nature than the mistake itself. >> in terms of the other exaggeration about the number of folks who have been fired in the wake of the scandal at the va, in some ways that seems, perhaps, more distressing because there's a lot of misinformation about exactly what's going on at the va and i wonder what you made of if statistics he made and the
reality about who actually has been fired. >> i read "the washington post" piece as well. there was some firings, less than 20 but there was some forced retirements of people who didn't want to retire. part of it is he doesn't want to throw people that served for 20 or 30 years in that agency completely under the bus, even though it was time for them to go. i thought that was -- again, he wasn't as clear as he should be but alex i have known bob mcdonald. this is a leader of character. he went to ranger school. he was in the 82nd airborne division. he did desert training. he did arctic training. he did training with special forces. he wasn't in them but he
apologized for it. he made a mistake, and hopefully it wasn't happen again. >> let's play the sound of secretary mcdonald on "meet the press" when he talked about those figures as far as who had been fired in the va since he took over. >> 900 people have been fired since i became secretary. we have 60 people who we fired who manipulated wait times. >> joe, i think there's wide acknowledgment that there are problems at the va. 900 people fired, that's par for the course as far as turnover at the va. it's unclear how many of those firings were truly related to the aftermath of the scandal. anecdote anecdote anecdotely, in terms of your experience is there a sense that it is getting better? >> i was in active service in 2004 and 2008. problematic would have been an
understatement. it was completely uncustomer centric, meaning that the soldiers that these employees were attempting to serve felt the least served in their entire community. the attitudes, the professionalism, all needed vast improvement. and i support what my fellow veteran and prior congressman just reiterated about mr. mcdonald, and that is as a veteran, i feel like he brings the leadership skills and skill necessary to correct and move forward in a better manner with the va and lead from the front as opposed to from the rear. >> i think it is not just that the va is still plagued by problems. there seems to be institutional failure issues but here is the secretary of veterans affairs on the streets of los angeles talking to a homeless veteran in
the united states of america. it is inexcusable that this is the lot of the men and women who are ready to give their lives and put their lives on the line in the name of our nation. i mean that's probably the most inexcusable part of all this. >> no doubt, alex. we all know in the media, if it bleeds it leads, but what's not being told is that here's this secretary of the va who's out there in the streets late at night in los angeles making sure we're bringing those homeless veterans back into the fold. i will tell you homelessness among veterans has been cut 1/3 in the last few years. as i told you, there's 49,000 homeless veterans which is 49,000 too many but look at the other statistics as well. there's 2200 veterans that commit suicide every day. the last thing you want to see is people looking at these reports who won't trust the va
and go into them. it is getting better. there's no doubt, but there's a lot more work that needs to be done. >> indeed there is. it is good to talk to two men who have served who have distinct and a very important viewpoint on this. it is a scandal what has happened to the veterans in this country. if anything, days like today are good because they remind us of the reality. thank you guys for your time. we have some breaking news in the past hour. president obama issued his first veto since republicans took control of both chambers of congress rejecting a bill approving the keystone xl pipeline. house speaker john boehner called the veto a national embarrassment. mitch mcconnell is promising a vote to override the veto. after the break governor chris christie delivers his
budget proposal a day after a federal judge says he broke the law. apple says santa can be black. there's an emoji for that. using pot is way less dangerous than any other drug including alcohol. all of that is ahead on "now." [announcer] if your dog can dream it purina pro plan can help him achieve it. ♪ driving rock/metal♪ music stops ♪music resumes♪ music stops ♪music resumes♪ [announcer] purina pro plan's bioavailable formulas deliver optimal nutrient absorption. [whistle] purina pro plan. nutrition that performs.
road map to deal with state's crippling pension problem. the state would work to pay what it owes to the pension city while public employees union employees would have to work to cut health care costs. >> we will not push this off. we will not leave it for another day, another year, for another generation. inaction is unacceptable. repeating the mistakes of the past would be irresponsible. >> christie's proposal comes just a day after the federal judge ruled that the governor broke the law when he declined to make the full payment into the state's pension system last year ordering him to find and pay over $1.5 billion in delayed funds. christie's office has vowed an appeal blaming an unanticipated revenue shortfall for the delayed payments. the state's 6.2% jobless rate
remains higher than the national average, which may help explain why the governor's approval ratings are the lowest since he took office. louisiana governor bobby jindal is struggling to close a $1.6 billion budget gap in his statement. wisconsin's scott walker is facing his latest rounds of protests this time from the college crowd. the marquette university dropout thinks wisconsin's higher education is ripe for the chopping block. nick let's begin with governor christie. is it possible that the hatchet been buryied between him and the
public employee unions? >> it is pretty fascinateing. what's interesting here is the early signs that the teacher's unions, especially are willing to look at and deal. it is two possibilities for chris christie. his plan to the latest payment was dealt a sharp blow by a state judge. you can't back out of your end of the deal if the workers are keeping up their end. on the other hand, this is a real crisis. it is not an invented crisis. there is a pension problem. it seems to me that the union mightunions might come to the table now and work with him. >> it's also interesting that his rhetoric today is all about not pushing off the inevitable to face one's demons today as
opposed to tomorrow. this is a governor who has pushed off paying out these pension payments year after year. >> that's right. it was a little cheesy to go out there and say we're not going to push it off. he tried to push it off. he said we don't have the money. i have to delay these payments. there is a problem that has to be solved and the question is how do they get together and what happens next for him. >> nick this is coming at a time when christie's approval rating is low. there's a lot of questioning about how much support he is going to get from republican donors if he decides to run in 2016. beyond the investigations there's a real serious debate about his fiscal stewardship of the state, something you and i have talked about numerous times. this would seem to be the latest woe for him in terms of their eight credit downgrades since he took over. the higher than average unemployment. we're talking major liabilities
ahead in the bid for the office of president. >> it's true. i think the records do matter for all these candidates and for chris christie who has now been in office for more than one term. it is sort of harder and harder to say i inherited these problems. for some of these other governors governors we're seeing a bit more of a structural problem. that's harder for them to manage politically. chris christie does have democrats in the legislature. i have to deal with these guys. i have to meet them halfway. that's appealing to some voters and some donors and mainstream republicans who want to see somebody who can make a deal. and the question is how big is that constituency in a primary process. i don't know. >> this is the conservative model. scott walker has executed on it. bobby jindal has executed on it.
we see where the states are. they have over billion dollar shortfalls because of their resistance to raising taxes and revenue. >> you cut taxes without paying for it. >> right. >> it's one thing to not want to raise taxes, but then to deliver a tax cut and then realize you don't have the political will to tax to pay for tax cuts doing budget maneuvers, you can't do it forever. it eventually catches up to you if you are a governor. >> scott walker are cutting university funding and all sorts of things that create pain in other areas. >> it is easy to take a whack at the public employees. they are kind of public enemy right now. it is harder to cut colleges and public schools that your average voters cares about.
president obama has issued a veto on the keystone xl pipeline. this has been heralded as the opening salvo in the veto era. mitch mcconnell is vowing to take this up again on march 3rd. what ultimately do you think what happens here? >> i'm not entirely convinced he eventually doesn't approve this. what he said today is it is not up to congress to unionlaterally approve a pipeline. he's saying i want to go through that process. is he buying time? is he running out the clock? it's possible. it's also possible that all the approvals come in that the studies say, yes, we should do this, and then he eventually signs off on it. >> which seems weird because it seemed like a principled stand. if he approves the keystone pipeline, it upends the
narrative. >> it is very important for the president at this time to say, look, these are the powers and prerogatives of the executive branch. i'm not going to back down just because you won a midterm. this is a process. the executive branch is in charge of it. i'm not going to get railroaded by congress on this. i think that is an important thing to do. >> this is not the last veto we will see out of the white house. >> nope. >> always good to see you, nick. thanks for your time. coming up, a major announcement from attorney general eric holder nearly three years to the day after trayvon martin was fatally shot. i sure hope so. with healthcare costs, who knows. umm... everyone has retirement questions. so ameriprise created the exclusive confident retirement approach. now you and your ameripise advisor....
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against george zimmerman. zimmerman was acquitted of all charges related to martin's killing. attorney general eric holder wrote that the death of trayvon martin was a tragedy. it drew the attention of millions across the nation but sparked a painful and necessary dialogue across the country. though a comprehensive investigation found that a hate crime prosecution cannot be pursued, but we need to continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronts the issues that came to the surface. did pharrell and robin thicke rip off marvin gaye? that's next on "now." happens again. you know what? plenty of guys have this issue not just getting an erection
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nobody can stop talking about. an idaho republican lawmaker gets schooled on female anatomy during an abortion debate. racial emojis in six different skin tones are coming to an iphone near you. and jury selection in the lawsuit against pharrell and robin thicke. on patricia arquette, i don't think it is brave to get up there and talk about wage equality when your dress costs about $3,000 and you work about two months out of the year. >> i missed the memo on my not having any rights. why don't the actresses make 10 million a film why don't they give the money to sag and they are redistribute it? >> sharp words, but arquette took heat for these remarks made
backstage following her win. >> it's time for all the women in america and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we have all fought for to fight for us now. >> the point of debate, fight for us now. a line which some critics on the left termed to be exclusionary. joining me now, my guests. jake, that intro was a holdover for your many times on the show. you are a chairman of the slate group. let me start with the patricia arquette backlash. is it fair? >> the fox part is ridiculous. let's just throw that aside. i'm of two minds, but i think it is fair. this is an old debate. we know that she meant well. let's just give her that.
in 2015 meaning well is not enough. whether we talk too often about the needs of white women and the notion that people of color don't include women or gay people doesn't -- >> that gay women aren't suffering from wage inequality as well. >> i don't think she had any idea because she's not really up on the intricacies of intersectional intersectionality. >> she's been saying this is about women of color being disproportionately paid less than their counterparts. >> she was just trying to make a point. there are a million people out there trying to find something to be outraged about. in this case, they are the people on the right on fox news who needed something to be outraged about.
there are people on twitter who live for outrage. >> arquette's political grandstanding played to every feminine stereotype. that's tough stuff. >> i don't to agree with everything on "slate." we have a great debate on "slate." there's a point there to be made, but i do think in terms of what's going on there this was an especially boring year for the oscars. if someone said anything you cling to it. thank god there's something we're going to be able to talk about the next day and then you pick it apart as if it were written like. >> you tweet the hell out of it for hours. >> it's still going on 48 hours later. black people are still going to jail. transgender people are still suffering. we have two days to devote to this.
>> wage inequality is a real thing for a lot of different industries. especially as you see the economy bounce back and you have seen wages stay flat it is a good conversation for everyone to have, even if it is not just people making movies. >> the fact that we're talking about wage inequality in such a passionate waity is a good thing. there are other important things to talk about. apple is unveiling new racially diverse emoji characters that come in six different skin tones. they'll be available to users in the coming months. have you been waiting for black santa like i have been waiting for black santa? there's a whole industry around skin tone color on your phone. they are modelled on what's call the fitzpatrick scale which is a
recognized standard used by dermatologists dermatologists. as an asian-american there are a lot of asians that are angry about the yellow. it is a hysterical neon yellow. does this make us a more racially diverse society? >> i know when my friends text message me emojis that are not black people i'm not sure is that me or is that you. >> you're confused. the other thing, and i'm not saying anybody has to cite personal experience, but there's a big study that says people who use emojis people who use emojis a lot, are having a lot of sex. that if you are not using emojis, if you are a smug emoji snob chances are you not
getting laid. i think they are effusive people. >> they are also younger. some emojis have a double meaning. the most important one is the eggplant. >> really? >> the eggplant is color blind. it's purple but it works for all races. >> you just dropped the eggplant heat rock. it is so loaded all of a sudden. what emoji are you messing right now, joan that's not been added in this roster? >> the joe biden emoji. i want a joe biden emoji. >> reggie, is there anything you've been missing? >> this whole statistics of emojis emojis correlated with sex, i want to know how they verified that.
>> there's a purple devil and not a blue. >> what's up with that? how much can one song sound like another? jury selection got underway today in a multimillion dollar copyright suit to determine if "blurred lines" is a ripoff of marvin gaye's classic "got to give it up." you can be judge ♪ if you can't read from the same page ♪♪ >> not even a question. robin thicke said to gq pharrell and i were in the studio and i told him one of my favorite songs was marvin gaye's "got to give it up."
he said he was high on vickodin that day. >> pretty short sequence of notes can count as a copyright violation. in this case, they stole the damn song and they made a song that is worse and is kind of a pathetic, not even a tribute. >> ouch. >> it's a great song. >> emoji users everywhere loved that song. >> i love the marvin gaye song. i didn't love the robin thicke song but they clearly -- this is where they got it. whether it is a legally a copyright violation, i don't know but there should be a little shame there. >> the judges ruled that they can't play the song because of a weird copyright part of the law that i don't understand. but if you can't play the
song -- once you play the song for a jury it is pretty clear. if you can't play the song it is a little bit dicey here. >> this is coming as katy perry's lawyers are trying to trademark left shark, the left shark that danced with her at the super bowl and trying to stop people from making left shark figurines saying that is katy perry property. they're going to be more vigilant about cracking down on perceived infringements in regards to trademark property and creative property. this is the reality of things. >> i agree with the idea of cracking down on it and what the revenue share should be i don't know what the right answer is. you want people to be insent vised to come up with new and creative intellectual property. >> even left shark? >> left shark seems like pushing
the -- pay the copyright for the sample and acknowledge that marvin gaye was there first. moving on to something serious, hilarious, and depressing. a congressman was asked about the possibility of women swallowing a camera to conduct a gien -- gynecological exam. >> mr. representative it cannot be done in pregnancy because when you swallow a pill, it doesn't end up in the vieagina.
>> the laughter is the best part. >> they have to stop talking about our lady parts. the ignorance is so profound but they continually have to keep talking about it again and again. >> marco rubio says i'm not a scientist, can we get him a shirt that says i'm not a gynecologist man. this is not something you should be touching with a ten-foot pole or a camera. >> this guy just invented a whole new category of pornography. why does the camera have to be a solid? let's use our imaginations here. >> he is at the cutting-edge of trademark patent law. >> copyright it. >> idaho, it's happening there. >> that is up for debate but we are out of time for this segment, so we'll continue that in the commercial break. it is always good to see you
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few people know president barack obama the man better than reggie love. love was the candidate and then president's personal assistant or as he puts it power forward my presidential education, i was his dj, his kindle his daughter's basketball coach, his messager, his punching bag his alarm clock, his vending machine, his chief of stuff. that position gave love an uncensored view of president obama's personal preferences. when he bought a bag of m&m trail mix, the senator opened the bag of trail mix and proceeded to pick out every m&m,
holding them all in his palm like candy toxic waste. i'm not going to eat these. clearly, i thought. he would eventually become something of a father figure literally, just like a dad. according to love the morning after an old friend stayed the night in his hotel room then senator obama let himself into my room using the secret service key that accessed every room. i remember the sound of his voice talking as he walked in. he was charged up going a mile a minute. then the senator finally noticed my friend in bed, covered pulled to her throat mortified. oh, he said. i apologize. then he turned around and hurried out. with me now is reggie love. we need a whole show to talk about the anecdotes in this book. >> how much time do we have? >> just two hours. president walking in to see you
when you have someone in your bed is not something most people can relate to you. were you mortified? >> i didn't think it was that big of a deal but she was like where's the heads up on this. >> he followed back up with you on this right, after the incident occurred? >> it's a funny story because later on we were traveling. we were on the plane. we were flying to our next destination. he was talking about this article and how we're getting thrashed in the polls. he's like i can't believe that i let you guys talk me into doing this. i said -- i pop up and i say, well i well, sir, if it's any consolation, i'm having the time of my life. no reggie, it's not.
>> do you feel bad in these fatherly moments of scolding or were you like yeah, you're right? >> you go through tough moments all the time. it is always good to have -- to lighten the mood a little bit with some banter. everyone can't be a debbie downer all the time. >> charles barkley, page 187 in the book one night in vegas's the candidate's phone rang. barkley said i'm in town. let's hang out. obama said let's take tomorrow off and go to the cheetah club. he was joking. i'm taking a rain check on that the minute you are ex-president. what's the over and under on? >> i doubt michelle is going to let him venture off to the
cheetah room or any adult lounge per se. >> ex-presidency or no. i want to go through the practical parts of the job. list of stuff that you carried as chief of staff. no gum wrapped in tiny papers. no energy bars with fruits. salads only in emergencies because you can't eat salad in a car. nothing battered or fried. nicorette normal flavor, 2 milligrams milligrams. did you see the president smoke? >> i did not. i don't know why people are so obsessed with this. >> because it humanizes him. he doesn't want the tiny wrappers. that's not efficient. he doesn't want energy bars with fruits. salads only in emergencies. this is a man who has pared down his food to the streamlined goods you can consume. >> when you are playing from a
deficit, at the early on parts of the campaign, you were you had to utilize every minute you had. part of what i did, i have taken notes. okay. let's not do that again. >> did that change once he got to office? did you sense a loosening at all? >> yeah, i think there was a little bit of loosening. you have more infrastructure. you have more confidence and you are probably not as anxious or as hurried all the time. i think as president he definitely did a better job of carving out time to actually eat lunch at a table. >> right. >> there's no eating on the go. >> you can spear a cherry tomato when you are president. has he reacted to the book? what's been the white house assessment of this? >> i think people have -- i think a lot of people have seen
it. i know he's gotten a copy and thought it was kind. i don't know if he enjoyed every part of the book but i don't think he hated it. it definitely was warming to me to hear that he didn't think it was anything that was going to be upsetting to him. >> he's got to love revisiting that moment when he walked in on you and your friend. there are a lot of smiles in this book. the book is "power forward, my presidential education." >> thank you for having me. can i take this mug with me? >> that is our gift to you for all your work on the show today. coming up you can now grow possess, and smoke pot legally in one more state in america. i'll tell you where coming up next. this is my body of proof. proof of less joint pain. and clearer skin. this is my body of proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis from the inside out...
with humira. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further joint damage and clear skin in many adults. doctors have been prescribing humira for nearly 10 years. >>humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers including lymphoma have happened, as have blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. >>visit humira.com and talk to your rheumatologist. humira. this is a body of proof! woman: it's been a journey to get where i am. and i didn't get here alone. there were people who listened along the way. people who gave me options.
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became the third state where recreational marijuana is legal, or the first red state to go green. any alaskian age 21 or over can possess an ounce of marijuana. applications to sell the drug will be not be admitted for another year. the group calling itself to regulate marijuana like alcohol is launching an ad campaign. their message -- with great marijuana laws come great responsibility. but as it turns out, regulating marijuana like alcohol may not make much sense because marijuana doesn't have much in common with alcohol. a new study from canadian and german scientists finds that weed is the least risky recreational drug by a long shot. marijuana is 114 times less
deadly than alcohol. to those marijuana enthusiasts rejoicing today, there's more good news. krispy kreme is giving away free donuts at locations nationwide. good evening americans, and welcome to "the ed show," live from new york. let's get to work. tonight, tpp fast track could face roadblocks in congress. >> i'm asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority. >> what's tpp? >> bad trade agreements are one of the reasons why the american middle class is disappearing. >> this is our moment to stop fast track and the outsourcing of millions of more jobs in this country. keystone